Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Celebrity?

I finally picked up a copy of the Fall/Winter issue of Bon with Constance on the cover. This Swedish publication has become one of my favorite magazines because it has substantive context and good editorials. It features topics and discussions infinitely more interesting than "How to look good at every age," "10 ways to get the look for less," and "What Hamish Bowles discovered on his 10 day cleanse."

Anyway, this particular issue contains a round table discussion on the recent Fall/Winter 2010/2011 season, and one of the topics covered in said round table is "On the Rise and Rise of Models." Interestingly enough, Freja's picture is chosen as the lead in image for this section:


It was a nice surprise, but when I took the time to think about it, it shouldn't have been a surprise at all. This absolutely jives with all the recent coverage that Freja has been receiving lately, for it seems like she is fashion's current model du jour--the poster girl of model success. It's wonderful for sure, but it also brings bittersweet feelings. I mean, when you're so "of the moment," it's only a matter of time before the moment passes and you're suddenly out of it. Maybe that's my pessimism speaking, but I just don't want Freja to get overexposed and I fear it's happening. Anyway, that isn't the point of this post....sorry to be so scatterbrained. The point is that a few quotes stuck out to me and got me thinking about the issue of celebrity.
Q: "We might think that a lot of models are sort of cookie cutter, completely without personality and importance, but in fact, if you've been on Models.com or the Fashion Spot or Model Manual, there is a fascination with models that seems to be growing. What are your thoughts on this?"

A: "...I don't think this is a fixation on models. It's a fascination with these people and the lives that they lead. Agyness has her music, she has modeling and acting. Each of them is a rock star in their own right. It's a fascination with the celebrity, not the model."
Do you think this is true in Freja's case? And if so, how does this reconcile with her fierce upkeep of privacy outside of modeling? Can Freja be a celebrity when we know essentially nothing about her besides what she shows on the runway, in fashion candids and on magazine pages? Doesn't that just make her simply a model? I've always been curious to know how many people like her for her work, versus those that "like" like her, versus those that like her for her personality and everything it embodies and signifies (the irony of this doesn't escape me considering none of us really know her). I try to focus this blog on the work, and even though I don't really care about all the gossip and whisperings about her personal life, I am fully aware of them. After all, lots of voices whispering together creates a pretty loud sound. So is this the by-product of the celebrity fascination mentioned above? Is the Freja fan domain created out of a fascination with her as a person, instead of the work that she does? Are the two facets mutually exclusive? Or are they rather codependent, with each informing and bolstering the other?

If Freja really was just a model, no one would care about what she did off-duty, what her tattoos means, who she hangs out with, who she sleeps with, etc, etc. But people do care, and I have no idea why they care so much other than to say that models are indeed the new "celebrity." That's disconcerting in a way, because you get a sense that after a while, this fascination begins to come at the price of the work. And this brings me to the second quote from the round table.
"What often happens in fashion, particularly fashion photography, is that everybody is seeking beauty, but with no other thought than combining things that have been approved by everybody else in the industry: best model, best photographer, best studio. All you can think of when looking at the pictures is that they certainly had good salads and sandwiches at the shoot. But it has no charm, no little accidents, no surprises."
In all honestly, this sums up the way I've felt about some (but definitely not all) of Freja's work lately. She's had so much of it since everyone is (seemingly) rushing to capitalize on her popularity and celebrity. But as a result, the moments of awe and inspiration seem diluted. Don't get me wrong....they are still there. But I feel like I have to look harder and longer to find them, and that's frustrating when you feel the pressure to love everything someone does simply because you run a blog about them.

Back when I started this whole thing, I would have been leaping for joy at the success that Freja's had in the past few months. But now that it's here, I can't get that bittersweet taste out of my mouth. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, right? And just watch.....if Freja ever disappears I'll be howling with frustration at her lack of new work and wishing to recapture this moment where she was on top. (In the voice of Chandler Bing) Can I be anymore fickle and temperamental? I'll just blame it on human nature and utilize another popular saying: the grass is always greener on the other side.

Your thoughts on models, celebrities, model celebrities, Freja, and fickleness? So sorry for the lengthy, stream of consciousness post, but it's pretty quiet news wise so I thought I'd go a little crazy. :)

Image Credits: My Scan

6 comments:

Aisling Sara said...

I think it's interesting that magazines are looking more at models as style icons than celebrities, especially here in England. In the past month alone, Freja has appeared in Grazia, Elle UK and The Guardian Weekend portrayed as something more than a jsut a model. It's almost like the industry is reverting back to the era of the supermodel, just not quite as elite as Naomi and co.

On another note, I may pick up Bon just for a read of this.
xx

yantomycin said...

To be honest, initially i was attracted to Freja because of the rumours and gossip. Kinna like the drama you know.

But then, as i get to "know" her better (thanks to you!), i started to appreciate and admire her personality. HOw she takes thing, how calm she is and how level-headed she is no matter what. Its about her "street intelligent" that i admire most. It is very inspiring to me. ANd i got to say, it's help me to get through my days. (Never thought that i can get a "life-lesson" from a model.)

And Then, i started to follow her works (thanks to you again!). Appreciate her skills as a model. I think from her work and your thought, it's help me to kinna like-develop critical thinking ability? Hope that make sense. Hahaha.

As a conclusion, I love Freja Beha because of her personality . Because i think its very rare to have a model with this sort of persona, u know.

Sorry for the novel. Hahaha. Thanks RRose.

Annika said...

I'm trying to remember what initially drew me to Freja. She, like Iselin Steiro (one of my other favorites) and the late Daul Kim, has a face that draws me in and isn't immediately what is typically considered "beautiful". I saw her street style photographs and thought, hmm, she's different. Then I saw her runway work and editorials and was amazed by how versatile she is. She has a real presence. It's one of those intangible things that's hard to describe.

I don't find myself terribly interested in her personal life. I find her reticence to divulge personal details to be a quite refreshing change in this reality tv, knowing everything about everyone age that we live in now. She retains mystery. Kind of like Kate Moss in a way. We know a lot about her, but we don't really know her.

I will concede that I was excited when I saw the Rolling Stone profile because I had wondered what sort of music she listens to!

miss_modular said...

i think all this exposure (pun intended) is the result of a confluence of recent trends:
- nude editorials in general (hello lara stone)
- fatigue with film/tv/music celebrities in fashion (height of wrong: avril lavigne courting karl lagerfeld)
- and finally, constant trends in models (remember when daria werbowy was EVERYWHERE?)

in short, i think freja's just the new trend that the mags have caught onto, and media has a habit of flogging to death anything that catches their eye. if anything, i'm sure the extra exposure will die down and on the upside may it give her more opportunities to work in more and more interesting projects - as a model mind you. i really don't think freja's going down the celeb route a la kate or agyness (capitalising on success to push music projects) - i'm more inclined to think she'll remain a model much like carolyn murphy and guinevere van seenus.

as for fickleness, i would like to reiterate my past comment about seeing better work in the past, so as fans we're used to seeing her in a much broader spectrum of work - i do think that the line in british vogue about freja being a chameleon is right on the mark, which in turns is frustrating (when seemingly only one aspect of her self is utilised) and enthralling (when we see something different that makes us look at her again in a different way).

meantime, i flicked through a copy of nov VP and i gotta say, the slimane ed is much finer in print than it is onscreen (though still staid). and i am chomping at the bit waiting for nov VI to show up in australia!!!

love love love the blog by the way, i hope you keep up your fantastic dedication to this amazing model, especially now when it seems she's shining brightest :D

Anonymous said...

would like to read more on the 'round table discussion'. where can i find it?

Rrose Sélavy said...

@ Aisling Sara: Interesting indeed. I had no idea Freja was being featured that much over there! And definitely pick up Bon. It's such a great read!

@ yantomycin: Your comment was so sweet! I'm SO happy that this blog has helped you to appreciate the work. :)

@ Annika: I know what you mean...it is hard to describe. I find that it's still hard for me to actually voice the reasons why I like Freja so much. Two years of blogging and it doesn't get any easier. ;)

@ miss modular: Yes, you're definitely spot on with the trend theory. But as we all know, trends fade as quickly as they rise, so I wonder how long this trend can last? And it's nice to know there's someone else out there who thinks the work was better in the past. Thanks for your compliments and I'll try to keep this blog going for as long as I can! :)

@ anonymous @ 11:38: You can read part of it in the bit that I scanned. But other than that, you'll have pick up the Mag! It's the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of Bon International with Constance Jablonski on the cover. I don't think they have online content...sorry.